If you are trying to decide whether it’s the right time for you to access a food bank, this article can help. Many people hesitate to get help. Some people feel they should tough it out and survive on what’s in the cupboards until things get better. Other people don’t want to go to a food bank because they don’t want to take resources away from people who are in dire need. Some folks are just embarrassed to accept charity and so they go without. There are a lot of myths out there about who can access food banks.
However, if you are having trouble feeding yourself and your family, that’s the only reason you need! Surviving is not the same thing as thriving, and charity is all about spreading resources around between those who have enough and those who don’t. It’s okay to accept help if you need it. Here are the reasons why it might be time for you to access a food bank.
Trouble Focusing and Negative Mental Health
First and foremost, hunger is the only reason you need to visit a food bank. It’s okay to ask for help with groceries if you don’t have enough money for food. But if you’ve been putting it off and now it’s beginning to affect your mental health, then you should definitely access a food bank without shame.
You need to be able to focus and be present in your life. Food can play an important role in supporting your mental health. So if you are struggling to feel positive or make plans for the future, then it might be time for you to visit a local food bank. You can choose to visit the Second Harvest Food Bank just one time if you need help on a low week, or request an emergency food box. It’s also normal to visit the food bank several times per month.
Everyone’s situation is different, and you know best whether it’s time to accept help. You’re now experiencing a low moment, but you’ve probably been generous to others when you had more to give. Now, all you have to do is accept the gift of groceries from someone who has a little extra. Then you can take a deep breath and start to plan the future.
Choosing Between Food and Bills
No one should have to choose between feeding their family or keeping the lights on. If your limited budget means that you have had to sacrifice food in order to pay a bill, then it’s time to visit a food bank. By accepting some free groceries, you can pay your essential bills. That’s a great reason to access a food bank.
If you don’t like to take without giving back, then you can always volunteer. However, this isn’t necessary. There’s enough to go around! The Second Harvest Food Bank is a project that connects neighbors in need with free, local food sources. We invite you to come and meet your friendly neighborhood food bank volunteers and get the groceries you need.
San Joaquin County and the California State Department of Public Health have some recent updates. These are being provided to help keep you informed. You can click on the links to learn more!
Guidance for the Prevention of COVID-19 Transmission for Gatherings
SJ County Press Release
Most people think that a donation of canned goods is the only way to help a food bank. However, cash donations are equally important. When you donate food to a community pantry, you’re directly feeding people in need. But you’re also creating a large volume of groceries that will need to be stored and categorized properly so that they can be distributed. Financial donations help cover essential overhead costs that keep the food bank up and running.
Here are some ways that a local food bank could put your cash donation to good use.
Paying for Rent and Refrigeration
People in dense urban centers experience hunger just like people in rural communities. However, in cities, the rent for storage warehouses and the cost of electricity can be extremely high. Food banks need a safe and sanitary space to store tons of food donations. This space needs to be clean, large, and centrally located so that people can use public transportation to access it. Often, this means a high price tag for rent.
Have you ever considered how much refrigeration is necessary for a large food bank? If your own fridge holds enough food to feed your family for three days, consider how much refrigerator space is necessary to feed thousands of people for a single week. Reliable refrigeration can prolong the life of food donations and it’s an essential line of the food bank’s budget. Your cash donations help keep food cold and fresh until it’s ready to be distributed.
Food banks have unique access to farms, manufacturers, and other food suppliers. They can often get better deals on food than you can, partially thanks to their ability to purchase in bulk and closer to the food’s expiration date.
Not only can the food bank get food for cheaper, but they also know which items are necessary. For instance, it’s possible that the food bank has received a lot of canned beans but not enough fruit. By donating cash to a food bank, you empower the people on the ground to fill in the pantry gaps.
Paying a Project Manager or Office Coordinator
Many of the workers at the food bank are volunteers. But every food bank needs a staff of trained people (on payroll) who can organize donations, manage volunteers, fundraise, and handle visitors and food distribution onsite. To provide the best experience for clients, the office manager needs to be reliable and knowledgeable.
Your cash donations help train and support the people who make the food bank possible! From covering an honorarium for the volunteer coordinator to a salary for the onsite pantry manager, financial donations are essential to the smooth operations of every food bank.
If you’re interested in getting involved, there are plenty of ways to make a difference. Remember that cash donations and food donations are equally important to help feed our community. If you have just $1 to give, Second Harvest Food Bank can turn that dollar into $5 worth of groceries! Contact us today if you’re interested in volunteering or making a donation with Second Harvest Food Bank.
This article was originally posted on feedingamerica.com. To view the original article by Paul Morello, please use the button at the bottom of the page.
We’ve got some do’s and don’ts about what food banks need right now (and what’s best to avoid) as they ensure our neighbors have enough food to eat during the pandemic and beyond.
Do: Make a monetary donation
It might sound simple, but right now, monetary donations are the most useful and efficient way to support food banks. These donations give food banks the flexibility and funds to respond wherever the need is highest. Whether that’s purchasing more food to meet the demand, hiring more staff, setting up new meal distributions, or simply putting gas into delivery trucks, cash ensures food banks can meet the demand in their communities.
To ensure a contactless donation, the best way to make a gift to your local food bank is to donate through their website. Or donate to our coronavirus relief fund where 100% of donations are going directly to support food banks across the country.
Don’t: Be afraid to ask what your local food bank needs!
Every food bank is unique and in this unprecedented situation, what your food bank specifically needs might be different from what other food banks need or what your food bank has needed in the past. Find your local food bank and follow them on social media for the most up-to-date info on what they need.
Don’t: Start a physical food drive
In general, donating funds over food is the way to go when supporting a food bank. But that rule of thumb is even more relevant now as sorting and packing food drive donations is incredibly time-intensive for food banks, and this may not be possible with limited staff due to the pandemic. If your family or friends are committed to holding a food drive, set the food aside (making sure it won’t expire) and donate your collection when it is safe to do so in your community. Also, keep an eye out for drive-thru or curbside food drives led by your local food bank. Or, check out an even better alternative such as…
Do: Have all the fun of a food drive, while social distancing with a virtual food drive
Virtual food drives are the perfect way to support your local food bank. They help raise much-needed funds for food banks while also getting your family, friends, and even coworkers involved in the cause. Start a virtual food drive, and then on the next family FaceTime or work Zoom meeting, tell everyone about your food drive and incentivize some friendly fundraising with these silly, easy prizes.
Do: Donate your time
Two-thirds of food banks are accepting volunteers right now. And sometimes, the thing your food bank needs most is you. Volunteers are helping pack emergency food boxes, distribute food at drive-thru pantries, and much more. In fact, there are even ways to volunteer at food banks without leaving your home.
Click the image below to watch San Joaquin County Public Health Officer, Dr. Maggie Park, provide information on COVID-19 testing. Or visit there YouTube channel.
You may qualify for local COVID-19 testing. Don’t wait, check it out NOW.
For more information visit: https://www.projectbaseline.com/study/covid-19/
We came across some of these family fun ideas and wanted to share them with you. Let us know if you do any of these activities and how it went.
10 Disney Zumba Videos
How about taking some free art classes?
Make some Puffy Sidewalk Paint!
Check Out Joe Wicks Kids Workouts on YouTube
Create Your Own 2020 COVID Time Capsule
Have some of your own ideas? Make sure you share them with us.
Dr. Samir Gupta explains why most people are better off washing their hands with soap and water than wearing gloves for protection against COVID-19.
If you use this to make some masks... Make sure you come back and share your creations!!!